Home South Asia Pakistan Can Hafeez Shaikh present budget without taking oath as federal minister?

Can Hafeez Shaikh present budget without taking oath as federal minister?

Although the post of adviser is constitutional, yet he can only discharge day-to-day ministerial affairs and is not eligible to present the budget for the next fiscal year and chair high-powered NFC meeting under article 91 (9) of the Constitution of Pakistan. Resultantly, the government circles were continuously brainstorming on the issue and trying to come up with a solution..

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News Desk |

Hours before presenting the annual budget in the National Assembly, the issue being discussed in the government circles is whether the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh can present budget or not as he is not a federal minister.

Interesting as it may seem, PM’s adviser on finance would not be eligible to present the annual budget if he does not take oath as federal minister. The budget is expected to be presented at 5pm on Tuesday (today).

Hamad Azhar can also present the budget or government can give a technocrat Senate seat to Hafeez Shaikh, so he can take oath as a minister before presenting budget.

Although the post of the adviser is constitutional, yet he can only discharge day-to-day ministerial affairs and is not eligible to present budget for the next fiscal year and chair high-powered NFC meeting under article 91 (9) of the Constitution of Pakistan. Resultantly, the government circles were continuously brainstorming on the issue and trying to come up with a solution.

Earlier, the ministry of law apprised the government that only a minister who has taken oath can present the budget when the government sought the ministry’s opinion on the issue.

Read more: Naya Pakistan: New Cabinet and the future of old-PTI

Among other options, the Minister of State for Finance Hamad Azhar can also present the budget or government can give a technocrat Senate seat to Hafeez Shaikh, so he can take oath as a minister before presenting budget.

Sources privy to developments told the Global Village Space that government circles have shown consent for the first option – Hamad Azhar presenting the budget instead of giving a Senate seat to Shaikh.

All targets missed by a wide margin: Economic Survey

The Express Tribune reported that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s first Economic Survey revealed that all economic indicators have missed their targets by a wide margin.

While setting the tone for the future direction of the government’s directions, the paper reported, Shaikh said that the country was heading towards a default if chronic imbalances were not addressed in the budget.

The ministry of law apprised the government that only a minister who has taken oath can present the budget when the government sought the ministry’s opinion on the issue.

“The Economic Survey of Pakistan 2018-19 carried the tale of missed targets, and the adviser, for the first time in the country’s recent history, did not read out its salient features,” the paper stated, adding that the advisor instead spent his time criticizing the previous governments of the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

Interestingly, the paper noted, Shaikh did not talk about Prime Minister Imran Khan’s economic performance in its first year — apparently distancing himself from the policies of his predecessor.

Read more: Finance secretary removed, can government maintain a sustainable front?

GDP growth rate falls to 3.29 percent, fails to hit 6.2 percent target

Meanwhile, Dawn while referring to the Economic Survey reported that the economy grew at an average rate of 3.29 percent (provisional) in the fiscal year 2018-19 against an ambitious target of 6.2 percent set in last year’s budget.

While giving sector-wise growth rates, the paper stated, agriculture growth remained at 0.85 percent against the target of 3.8 percent, industry at 1.4 percent against the target of 7.6 percent and services at 4.7 percent against the target of 6.5 percent.

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